Tips on Successfully Working From Home During COVID-19 and Beyond

On an Instagram Story post recently, I said this post would be the last thing I write about COVID-19. It turns out that I kinda lied. I mean I didn't know at the time but this post you are now reading will in fact be the last lol. Not really. I mean, who knows? I think this will be our reality for a while soooo let's see.

This post is on tips for working from home, which technically is not about COVID-19. However, the only reason I'm writing this is because of COVID-19. It looks like most people are struggling with being cooped up at home. So let's tackle one aspect of that, which is working from home since most organizations have issued a work-from-home (WFH) order. I work from home a LOT. It's probably one of the favorite parts of my life. Let's face it, I like being home a lot. So I'm like an expert on this, which is why it occurred to me to blog about it. Alright here are some tips with my own twists as usual:

1.) Be organized. Start everyday intentionally. What I mean by this is to realistically decide on what you need to achieve for the day. For this you can write a todo list for the day. This matters significantly. The sheer act of ticking things off as you achieve them is a type of high no drug can provide, I promise. But be realistic in constructing it because if you are like me, it becomes a huge blow when nothing gets done. So, do you need to exercise, shower, reply emails? Whatever you need to do, do it. Break tasks down into smaller pieces.  And then go from there. Now that you know what needs to be done. Get. It. Done.

2.)  Depending on you, you might need a dedicated workspace. People alway say make sure you get off your bed. Not for me. Some of my best works were done on my bed in my pajamas bottoms. What can I say? I love comfort. However, this takes insane discipline. Working from home requires discipline. So for you especially in the beginning stages of WFH, sure, get dressed and sit on a desk if you have one or on your dinning  table. You need to take care of your posture anyway. So find a dedicated space you can "resume" at everyday and sit upright whenever possible. The idea of "resuming" work at your space also helps with building routine.

3.) As part of building routine, set work hours. Working at home makes it so hard to set boundaries between work and home, and believe me when I say you need this. Work is just that: work. But working from home has meant I can pull out my laptop anywhere, when I say ANYWHERE, I mean it: I have worked at the airport, grocery store, doctor's office, inside the car, while shopping for clothes, at the corner of a Banana Republic (yes, people, I squatted in a corner), inside the mall, inside Target, if you can squat in a corner or worse sit down, I have worked there. This is not good. So set work hours and keep to them. At some point in the day, it should end.

4.) Choose a productivity technique. This makes it easier to be productive and actually work during your set hours. If you just say you will work for 8 or 12 hours, you probably won't. You may just scroll endlessly on Twitter and Instagram. There are too many distractions nowadays with everything going on. Therefore, you need a time management plan that allows you to break tasks into intervals. So take the pomodoro technique for instance: you work for twenty-five minutes and then take a five minute break. During this five minute break, you can do whatever you like: post on IG, scroll mindlessly on Twitter. But after five minutes, it's back to another installment of 25 minutes. With each 25 minutes you successfully complete without distractions, you can check off. Normally, if you get interrupted, you start all over. After four installments, you can take a longer break (15 - 30 minutes).  Then begin again. There are variations of this, of course. I know the actual Pomodoro technique comes with an app or so. But I'm a grown woman and I don't need all that. I just use timers on my phone and get it done. But you can look online for all the variations.

5.) Alternatively, you can assign each hour of the day to all tasks you have to complete from number 1 above. Such that even food time is allotted. So if you are wasting away at 2:15, you know that you are supposed to be running regressions on STATA not tweeting about your favorite scene from The Office or Grey's Anatomy. Yes, that was a self-read. If you do number 5 instead of a variation of number 4, then schedule breaks too. Please note that number 4 and 5 are not mutually exclusive; you can combine them.

6.) Have water by your side. Always sip water. I would say any liquid but we don't want to form dangerous habits *ahem*.  Two reasons for the advice on drinking water. First,  you are getting hydrated. But also, it ensures you are getting up to use the bathroom. So you are not just stuck in one place and you get some movement at least. It's so easy to get sucked into work.

That's all folks. I hope this was helpful. Remember that no matter how bleak it looks, this is all temporary. The data and scientists tell us that this WILL pass. Let's just all collectively behave, meaning STAY at home, social distancing, and not buying everything on the shelves. Do your best to contribute to FLATTENING the curve.  We can do this.



No comments